The 虚実 Kyojitsu of Control: Bujinkan Strategies of Control Part 3

From Bujinkan Santa Monica by Michael Glenn

渡月橋 togetsukyō at 六義園 rikugien. photo by Michael Glenn
Hatsumi Sensei puffed out his chest. His attacker went to grab with both hands, but then Soke collapsed the target. It was like he shrugged the attack away, tossing his opponent aside.

If you have been following my training notes, then you know that this kyojitsu of offering a target is one of the Bujinkan strategies of control that I have been writing about since my recent training with Hatsumi Sensei. He explained that he was teaching control to the Jugodans. He said he wasn’t teaching technique.

I managed to get a few pictures of the snow around the Bujinkan Hombu dojo that morning before class. A few days later it had all melted away. If you are not careful as a Bujinkan teacher, your own days as a student will melt away too.

Soke said that people in sports do technique, but we are trying to have a flow that can’t be copied. Flow is the most important thing in a fight.. This is why he teaches this way. He told us,
“You have to become the kind of person who cannot be copied.”
When Soke puffed out his chest this way, he was offering his opponent an illusion. The target was not real. He used the word 的 mato and told us to control by creating a target.

The way he moved his shoulders was very loose. And next, he made us all laugh by wiggling his ears. He did this to show how you control the opponent by having this very precise control over your own body first.

When he asked me to grab him, he did this with his shoulder and then I went flying through the air. He said,
“I’m lifting the shoulder with this kind of kyojitsu. You have to be able to move every part of your body.”
You offer the target as the 虚 kyo, or illusion. Then hit him with the 実 jistu or the truth. Another time Soke did this with a sword. He blocked the cut with his own sword. But he left his face right in front of his opponent’s blade. It did not look safe!

But this target was an illusion. As soon as the opponent tried to cut, Soke pivoted and hit him hard with the tsuba in the ribs. He looked around the dojo at our confused faces and said,
“Everyone tries to use the sword and that's why you're missing the kyojitsu. Kyo comes first and then jitsu.”
When you control your opponent with illusion, you don’t even have to fight at all. In fact, you never have to touch him. Hatsumi Sensei said we could feel it in the air. He used the phrase 空気で殺気 kuuki de sakki.

This can be thought of as sensing the intent of the enemy in the air. But it is also projecting your own threat into the air. It is like you strike with the air or the kukan itself! How does that work?

Many of us have felt this from Hatsumi Sensei. He did this to my friend Yabunaka-san. I watched when Yabu hesitated and then froze up. Next he stumbled right before Soke would have broke his arm. Hatsumi Sensei asked Yabunaka to describe this feeling. Yabunaka said that you feel like he is striking you even when he is not.

This is the opposite of presenting a target as an illusion. You strike with illusion! In fact, Hatsumi Sensei told us that this was 遠当之術 tōate no jutsu (or even 遠當之術). This is striking from a distance.

But Soke said he was not using tōate for striking, he was using it for control. For me, that moment was a big key to my whole trip and my efforts to understand Hatsumi Sensei’s current teachings.

I was lucky to be invited to uke for Soke in almost every class. And these experiences were like a gift. Every day that I train in Japan or in my own classes, I feel humbled by the generosity of my teachers and students. I hope you can have that in your training as well.
UP NEXT: Evade Without Evading: Bujinkan Strategies of Control Part 4

Coming this spring… The Hidden Lineage

From Blog – Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo 武神館國際連光明道場 by bkronline

In search of the history of the Togakure Ryu

I definitely do not want to cause an issue with anyone regarding the cover of the book. In fact, the picture that was up was just a temporary one. The final cover is a surprise as I have been given the approval to include photographs of Hatsumi Sensei and the Shihan from the 1960’s that have never been published before. They are from the collection of Anthony Netzler and Steve Tansley. I owe them some big thanks. The pictures were taken for the book on the ninja by Andrew Adams (1970). Steve Tansley’s father was the photographer to that project and left Steve and Anthony with a beautiful collection of never before seen photographs. I will include a few of the best and hopefully one will don the cover.

The previous photo, the “Kama Mon” is the symbol of the divine at Suwa Shrine (諏訪神社) in Shinshu. It is the symbol of the “Bujin” (武神) enshrined at Suwa. Yes, the same “Bujin” as in the Bujinkan. Due to the close proximity and tribal relationships, the shrine at Togakushi where our Togakure Ryu comes from also uses the “Kama Mon” as its shrines symbol. The “kama” or a sickle is a farmers tool that held high spiritual importance in the rice-based communities. Once the harvest was over each year, the Togakushi region would hold “kama” festivals 「鎌祝い」, to celebrate and give thanks to the shrine’s deities for a good harvest and to pray for another next year.

Also, please enjoy my clip from yesterday’s Taijutsu session


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